Friday, June 18, 2010
que accoutrement's, or other mementos of male hobbies. I will share some photos of my father Lewis S Ball and some photos from his collection; he was an avid photographer until he entered pilot training and then must have become too busy to take many snapshots.
I wrote about my father on Sepia Week 19 and if you have read my blog that I never knew him because his plane and crew disappeared somewhere in the Atlantic returning to Charleston, SC from the Bahamas on June 20, 1944 enrolling me as one in the nearly 185,000 American children designated by our government as war orphans. I belong to an organization, American World War II War Orphans Network source of immeasurable resources and unbelievable support among those of us who shared similar stories growing up not knowing, and not even knowing anyone like ourselves. Tomorrow, June 20 designated father’s day summons my need to remember the man I never knew, continue to grieve his loss after and still 65+ years, ponder how different my life might have been, and share more photos and stories about his journey.
Ahh but they needed the B-24 guys on the fronts. He had been briefed about what lay ahead. The odds were not good. This is one of the few photos my mother gave me when I was in my teens, she called it "that damn plane!"
Here is the Maxwell Field Chapel where Helen and Lou married June 12, 1943, which upset both their families as they both came from avid devoted Roman Catholics. How could they go to a chapel? Followed by photos from my dad’s collection of Maxwell Field with different labels all photos in the scrap book which I’ve now scanned. I’ve not been to Maxwell but they immediately responded to my inquiry for copies of the investigation of the plan accident and couldn’t have been more gracious. I am grateful to them.
A Preflight 1943 book from my father's training says, "This is Maxwell Field, red earth covered by green splotches of grass, yellow stucco barracks reflecting the bright sunlight and shimmering heat of an Alabama day. ...Cadets, pilots, engineers, mechanics, instructors, tactical officers along the flight line throwing off silver streaks of lights in the mid afternoon. The roar of motors overhead and a thousand craned necks taking a quick look at the future..." I like this photo of the band marching and the flag being foisted.
Maxwell Field was one of the oldest of the Army Air Corps flying fields in 1943 named after William C Maxwell, who died in an airplane accident in the Philippines. This was headquarters for Southeast Army Air Corps training and the Preflight school where men like my father were first inducted into flight training.
The photo of the flight line below of planes is one my dad had titled on the back, Maxwell, on the line. It is a treasure to me.
Kudzia Ball, in 1958, the grandmother with whom I had little contact, but who would look at me and cry, “The picture of Louie.” I suppose my mother felt this would upset me and it did, what child wanted to be greeted by grief and tears when they saw their grandmother? There was unresolved bitterness between my mother and Anna because Anna received my father’s life insurance policy. I never really believed this until I saw all the papers documenting this when Mom died, I guess I could not believe my grandmother could be so selfish, but she was. Anna came to the hospital when I was born and wanted my mother to give me to her because she had lost her Louie, her son. Mom and my mother's mother ran her out of there ! But having lost an adult son now I can more appreciate the heartache she carried to her grave, always believing that someday Louie would come home, no trace ever being found of the crew or the plane. I learned through AWON that this happened to many other women and sometime the mother did the right thing by the widow and as in my case sometime not, the soldiers just did not remember to change beneficiaries on those policies when they married.
Harwick. He was very generous and let many run a tab, believing that a man should not ever be denied a drink. I wonder to this day if he knew that Anna took the money from the insurance policy. As you can tell I have so many unanswered questions.
enry died in 2008, but I am still in contact with my cousins and Aunt Pearl, his wife. Eddie died suddenly from a heart attack in the 1970's. Anna lived until 1980.
Truax Field in Wisconsin. It was built in 1924 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, it still stands but today is a YWCA home for homeless women. Its height of 140 feet instigated legislation limiting the size of future buildings in Madison to not exceed the height of the Capitol building just down the street. This legislation is still in effect today.
I took the color photos in 2007.
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